Thalatha gets tough with foreign job racketeers

‘Eleven women who went overseas on tourist visas for employment deported

by Maheesha Mudugamuwa

Foreign Employment Minister Thalatha Athukorala yesterday promised strict and swift action against job agents involved in foreign employment rackets.

Addressing a press conference held at Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) on Tuesday (06), she said that her ministry had bared a racket where Sri Lankans were sent abroad on tourist visas for employment.

Eleven Sri Lankan women who had been sent to Kuwait on tourist visas had been deported, the minister said.

Athukorala said once the licences of such errant job agents were cancelled, they were disqualified to seek registration again.

Some of the Foreign Employment Bureau officers had already been transferred and after investigations disciplinary action would be taken against them, Minister Athukorala added.

She noted that discussions were being held on increasing the maximum punishment for bogus agents and investigating officers in civvies would be sent to observe the operations of these agencies.

Meanwhile, the annual MoU between Sri Lankan government and Korean Labour Ministry was signed by Minister Athukorala and Korean Human Resource Development Institution’s Country Director Jeong Ho Lin at the Ministry yesterday.

The SLBFE said that almost 5,599 Sri Lankans had left the country for Korean jobs during the past nine months. Last year it had been 6,684 and at present around 28,000 Lankans were working in Korea, it said.

According to SLBFE, almost 200,000 migrant workers had left the country from January to September this year.

Of this number 20 to 30 per cent of them were skilled workers. Out of the total 30.14 per cent were housemaids.

All together about two million Lankan migrant workers are employed abroad, mostly in West Asia.

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